The real magic of Christmas

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This festive season, take your yoga to a higher level. Support Magic Breakfast and help beat child hunger in the UK

In my own small, privileged way, I know what it’s like to be hungry. Not so long ago, I found myself in the centre of London without my purse. Any friends that could have brought me some cash were out of town, so I lurched my way through the day, becoming increasingly disturbed by not eating. The main issue wasn’t even the lack of food – I’ve fasted on many occasions before – it was the knowledge that, albeit temporarily, I had no choice but to go hungry.

After working in the British Museum for an hour or so, I did what any self-respecting journalist would – made it my mission to find out where you can get free food in the West End. John Lewis cookery demos? Not for a couple of hours. Pizza samples in Covent Garden? I wish. Ubiquitous on a weekday lunchtime, those tireless kitchen assistants were nowhere to be seen on a grey Sunday morning. I even offered to give my (memorised) debit card details to a small independent yoga-inspired cafe but, perhaps understandably, the answer was no.

As I last resort I headed to the Govinda’s in Soho, the veggie cafe linked to the Radha Krishna Temple. I vaguely recalled they donate food to the hungry and, yes, that was still the case. But, no matter how skillfully I asked, I would have to wait until the end of the day – another three, stomach-cramping hours away.

By this time, physically exhausted from traipsing over town on an empty stomach (no money for buses or even a Santander bike – I’d driven the 90 mins into London at 8am and found my usual free parking spot), and without the emotional resources to ask yet another cafe for a morsel to eat, I had the luxury of being able to drive home and prepare myself a hot meal.

In the way that lived experiences often do, the visceral memory of that day has left an indelible mark. Now, no matter what they chose to spend it on, I can’t walk passed anyone with a ‘homeless and hungry’ sign without stopping to give them some cash and quite likely have a conversation with them, too.

Which is why I’m happy to promote the Magic Breakfast initiative.

Hunger hurts. If you’ve ever missed a meal you know how it impacts your mood, concentration and physical health. So imagine starting each day on empty.

A shocking half a million children in the UK arrive at school too hungry to learn, which has consequences that last long after their next meal.

When Carmel McConnell, founder of Magic Breakfast learnt about this tragedy, she re-mortgaged her house and set up Magic Breakfast as the first stage in a global approach to give every hungry child a good breakfast as fuel for learning.

Now Magic Breakfast works with 480 schools in the UK providing breakfast to 23,500 children a day. It’s cost just 22p for the charity to provide a nutritious breakfast and change a child’s life. And, for the price of a latte, Magic Breakfast can provide breakfast to a child for a whole month. But there are still more than 300 schools on its waiting list, so there’s a lot more that can be done.

If you want to help, head to triyoga Camden for an evening fundraiser that includes Kirtan (chanting), meditation, music, delicious food and drink. There’s also a raffle, which could see you coming home with festival tickets, vouchers for dining experiences, treatments, artwork and much more.

Price: £30 (136 breakfasts!)

When: Saturday 10th December 2016, 7.00-9.00pm

Where: triyoga Camden, 57 Jamestown Rd, London NW1 7DB

Raffle tickets are £2 each (9 breakfasts!) and can be bought from any triyoga centre or online at triyoga.co.uk.

Stay tuned for the launch of our online auction, and support the cause on social media @triyogauk #FuelforLearning on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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